Scenic USA - Florida

Gasparilla Island

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Gasparilla Island State Park -  Lee, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   Once Gasparilla Island visitors cross the toll bridge onto the island they'll Gasparilla Island Rear Range Lighthouse - Gasparilla Island, FL discover a peaceful island community without the typical resort hubbub. There are no traffic lights, no billboards, no high-rise buildings, no fast-food chains and very light traffic. Doubling as a bike path, many islanders travel around the island by golf cart over special lanes. The historic Village of Boca Grande received national attention when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
   Continuing south on Gulf Boulevard, first time visitors may think they've found the famous Boca Grande Lighthouse as they come upon a tubular lighthouse structure, but this is the rear range light. Beach Homes - Gasparilla Island, Florida Island residents hope to spruce up the range light, but await a decision by the Coast Guard to turn over the structure to the Department of the Army who owns the surrounding land.
   Located on the tip of the island is one of the most valuable pieces of land in Florida's state park inventory. Here, Gasparilla Island State Park occupies 144 acres of beachfront by the Boca Grande Pass, a deep water cut that separates Gasparilla Island from Cayo Costa. Translated as "wide mouth" in Spanish, the pass is best known for the schools of mammoth tarpon. Port Gasparilla Island Lighthouse - Gasparilla Island State Park, FL The "silver king" average over 100 pounds and may be seen from the Boca Grande Lighthouse deck. As you may guess, the fishing at the park is spectacular, with catches of snook, goliath grouper, flounder and sea trout plentiful. The soft white beach sand welcomes park goers all around the tip of the island. Although strong rip currents limit swimming, beachcombers manage to get their feet wet while shelling, a favorite island pastime. Park visitors enjoy picnicking, sunbathing, biking and tours of the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. Marking the entrance to Charlotte Harbor, the lighthouse and keepers quarters have endured the Gulf's violent storms for the last 120 years.

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